SEC Ordered Bear Stearns to Pay $250 Million in Fraud and Disgorgement Penalties in 2006
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“Washington, D.C., March 16, 2006 - The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a settled enforcement action against Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc. (BS&Co.) and Bear, Stearns Securities Corp. (BSSC) (collectively, Bear Stearns), charging Bear Stearns with securities fraud for facilitating unlawful late trading and deceptive market timing of mutual funds by its customers and customers of its introducing brokers. The Commission issued an Order finding that from 1999 through September 2003, Bear Stearns provided technology, advice and deceptive devices that enabled its market timing customers and introducing brokers to late trade and to evade detection by mutual funds.
Pursuant to the Order, Bear Stearns will pay $250 million, consisting of $160 million in disgorgement and a $90 million penalty. The money will be paid into a Fair Fund to be distributed to the harmed mutual funds and mutual fund shareholders. Bear Stearns will also undertake significant reforms to improve its compliance structure. Simultaneously, NYSE Regulation, Inc. censured and fined Bear Stearns, and imposed compliance with these undertakings. The fine imposed by the NYSE will be deemed satisfied by the payment of the $250 million pursuant to the Commission's Order.
Linda Chatman Thomsen, SEC Enforcement Division Director, said, "For years, Bear Stearns helped favored hedge fund customers evade the systems and rules designed to protect long-term mutual fund investors from the harm of market timing and late trading. As a result, market timers profited while long term investors lost. This settlement will not only deprive Bear Stearns of the gains it reaped by its conduct, but also require Bear Stearns to put in place procedures to prevent similar misconduct from recurring."
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